It’s that time of year again, when a lot of people will enact great tragedies on that most underappreciated of vegetables, the Brussels sprout.
This is the correct way to prepare Brussels sprouts. It’s also one of the easiest and lowest-effort. The ingredients are few and simple. The work is minimal. It requires very little skill and is easy to learn. If you’ve never had Brussels sprouts prepared like this, you’ll be amazed at how good they taste. In fact, you may learn for the first time that they even have a taste, and that it is sweet and delicious, and not at all improved by bacon, cream, or vinegar, or whatever other awful tortures people put these things through.
- Brussels sprouts, ideally all roughly the same size
- Some salt
- Plenty of oil
Rinse the sprouts.
Cut them in half longitudinally. That is, so that the cut goes through the stem, and you have two symmetrical halves. Don’t cut them along the equator, if you do that they’ll shred. Put them in a bowl and try not to break them up too much, but don’t sweat it if a few leaves fall off.
Put enough oil in a large flat pan so that it covers the bottom. Heat it up.
While it’s heating, place the sprouts in the oil flat side down. Don’t just dump them all in there. This is important. Cover the bottom, but do not do more than one layer. Every sprout should have its flat face fully flush against the bottom of the pan.
If the sprouts start to absorb some of the oil, put some more in. The bottom should be covered, but they should not be swimming.
Toss any stray leaves in there just kinda randomly, it’s fine.
Throw a bit of salt on them. I give it a good “shooka-shook” from the salt shaker, probably like a quarter teaspoon or so, but this is pretty flexible. Make them, and if they’re not salty enough, put some more salt on them and use a bit more next time.
The cooking time and heat will need to vary based on the size of the sprouts. The goal is to burn the bottom and let the insides steam in the little dome of Brussels sprouts leaves. Big sprouts will take longer to cook the insides, so you’ll use a lower heat and cook for longer. Little sprouts, turn that shit up (but if the oil starts smoking, that’s too hot, back off a bit). If you get it a bit off, it’s fine. Just means that they might have to get a little more or less browned.
They’re done when the top is dark green and the bottom is completely browned (but not black, that’s probably too much).
Use a tongs to pick one of them up and check if they’re done. Other than that, do not fucking touch them. They don’t need to be messed with, stirred, moved around, or touched. They just need to burn and steam, and that’s it.
They taste like sweet popcorn. I’m serious. The crunchy bottom tends to soften pretty quickly, so sooner you eat them, the better, but this is usually not a problem. (And they’re still good when they’re not super crispy, just a little less amazing.)